PAULS VALLEY, Okla. – In this south-central Oklahoma town, probably best known for its Toy and Action Figure museum, there is a dark cloud of suspicion and what some say is an ongoing cover-up related to three deaths in Garvin County that, while officially ruled suicides, may in fact be homicides.
Visiting Garvin County this week, walking around Pauls Valley in particular, that sense of suspicion and even paranoia seemed to be in the air. It was as if the truth was seeking to come out and there were mysterious forces keeping that from happening. This story coming out of Garvin County appeared to be far more substantial than we had originally suspected.
At the core of the story is Susan Murphy Milano, a nationally-recognized domestic-violence expert and writer.
Over the past week, Murphy Milano has spent time in Garvin County talking to the families of the victims, gathering documents and information and trying to generally “lay low” as she has been threatened with violence and followed in cars by persons unknown.
She has also been vocal about her investigation, spurred by the victim’s families, talking to whatever media would take her calls or talk to her in person.
For those unfamiliar with what has been going on in Garvin County, it all seems to begin a decade ago with the “suicide” of a beautiful young woman, 23-year-old Chanda Turner.
As has been reported in numerous places, Turner was at home in Pauls Valley when she was reported shot to death on the morning of July 21, 2000.
And while the Medical Examiner investigator John Miller ruled Turner’s death a suicide, there was more evidence on the scene that pointed to something more sinister.
As Murphy Milano explains it, there were crime-scene photos showing blood throughout the inside of the home, as well as bloody sheets and a bloody mattress. The sheets, however, appeared to have disappeared. The boyfriend, who claimed to have slept through her suicide, and found her outside, was said to have had scratches on his body while Turner’s body clearly was covered in bruises, indicating she fought for her life. There was also evidence of a struggle, with broken furniture in the home.
Two other “suicides” are believed to be homicides as well – Sheila Deviney of Maysville and Tom Horton of Wynnewood – and Murphy Milano is calling them the “Garvin County 3.”
Murphy Milano first spoke with Oklahoma Watchdog earlier this week saying that she had been told by someone that if she came to Garvin County, she would “leave in a body bag.”
“These are murders,” Murphy Milano said without hesitation. “I’ve come here and been threatened. I’ve got Facebook pages and blogs going so people know what I’m doing.”
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(Susan Murphy Milano, is with the Institute for Relational Harm Reduction & Public Psychopathy Education. For more information visit http://www.saferelationships.com/ She is the author of the new book "Time's Up: A Guide on How to Leave and Survive Abusive and Stalking Relationships available for purchase at the Institute, Amazon.com and where ever books are sold.)